Krishna Chopra, Author at Sportzwiki | Page 299 of 300

Krishna Chopra

A cricket enthusiast who has the passion to write for the sport. An ardent fan of the Indian Cricket Team. Strongly believe in following your passion and living in the present.

IPL Preview – Sunrisers Hyderabad

From the land of the Nawabs, arises an immensely talented team – Sunrisers Hyderabad. The first name of the team, “Sunrisers” is apt for the side, as it has cricketers in its ranks who like the sun, rise daily i.e. consistent. There is not even an iota of doubt, regarding the ability of this talented side. The Sunrisers Hyderabad made their IPL debut in 2013, and since then, have been fantastic. The 2014 season was a forgettable outing though, as they began their campaign with two losses. Midway through the season, they replaced Shikhar Dhawan with Darren Sammy, as the captain.

In the recent player auctions, the management of the Sunrisers Hyderabad was at their efficient best. If you manage to rope in a batsman like Kane Williamson for just Rs.60 Lakhs, then you must be thanking your luck big time!  It might be hard to believe, but the events of the auction unfolded this way indeed! With just a few days to go for the 2015 IPL, the prospects of the Sunrisers doing well look optimistic. Only time will though, how far do they travel in the IPL.

In this article, we analyze the Hyderabad based franchise in depth.

PAST PERFORMANCES:

2013: 4th Place

2014: 6th Place 

CURRENT SQUAD:

D Warner ( c ), A Ashish Reddy, R Bhui, R Bopara, T Boult, S Dhawan, M Henriques, S Kaul, B Kumar, P Kumar, C Milind, EJG Morgan, N Ojha†, Parvez Rasool, K Pietersen, P Prasanth, K Rahul, I Sharma, K Sharma, L Shukla, D Steyn, G Vihari, K Williamson

STRENGTH:

The Sunrisers seem to be talented in both the departments. Their batting has some astonishing talent. But more than the batting, it is their bowling which is more zealous. With the likes of Steyn, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Trent Boult in their ranks, the opposing batsmen better fear the worst! In their pace reserves, they have the experienced Indian duo of Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma as well. Both these pacers will make the playing XI of any IPL side, but in most probability not the Sunrisers. That just summarizes the strength of the Sunrisers! In the spin department, the men from Hyderabad have Karn Sharma. Sharma was the find of the 2013 edition. His unorthodox bowling action flummoxes the batsmen, and his leg breaks skid off the surface. Due to such potential within their bowling department, the Sunrisers have the ability to defend any total. This gives them a massive advantage indeed. It is absolutely fair to say that the Sunrisers are the best bowling side in the IPL.

WEAKNESS:

A clear weakness for the Hyderabad based side is that they do not have the Indian firepower within their batting arsenal. Shikhar Dhawan and Naman Ojha are the only two names, which can adapt to the T20 format with ease. Among the remaining Indian batsmen, KL Rahul is undoubtedly talented. But gloomy clouds linger around his ability as a hard hitting T20 batsman. To add to their woes, England star Kevin Pietersen will all, but miss the tournament due to his county commitments. Assuming that Boult and Steyn will play in the XI, they just have two overseas batsmen to choose from. The absence of high profile Indian batsmen may hurt the Sunrisers big time!

OPPORTUNITY:

T20s are all about grabbing the minute chances with precision and then gradually building them up with style. This theory has been perfectly adopted by a lot of individuals in the IPL. The first example which comes to mind is of Shaun Marsh. Marsh was unknown before the 2008 IPL. But then, within the span of a few matches, he set the stage of fire. A similar case of David Miller is known as well. The Sunrisers provide an ideal opportunity for players like KL Rahul and Naman Ojha, to make a mark. The talented Indian batsmen can have a string of high scores, and keep the selectors on their radar. Parvez Rasool has the same opportunity. A decent show in the IPL, will keep the selectors interested in him. If these Indian players come to the party along with the other high profile members of the Sunrisers, then it will be one hell of a show by the Hyderabad side!

THREAT:

One major threat to the success of the Sunrisers is their homeground itself! Very rarely there is a situation, when the home turf itself can be a bane instead of a boon. The surface laid at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium in Hyderabad is often very slow and lifeless. However, the pace of Steyn and Boult might just make it easy for the opposing batsmen. The batsmen always look for an opportunity to middle the ball. Their swift deliveries on this lifeless pitch, might be just what the batsmen want. If the men from Hyderabad are to achieve success, then they better prepare a bouncy pitch, which amplifies the advantage of having Steyn and Boult in the side.  

FIXTURES:

1. Chennai Super Kings vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 11th April (4:00 pm) at Chennai

2. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 13th April (8:00 pm) Bangalore

3. Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Rajasthan Royals – 16th April (8:00 pm) Vizag

4. Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Delhi Daredevils – 18th April (4:00 pm) Vizag

5. Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders – 22nd April (4:00 pm) Vizag

6. Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 25th April (4:00 pm) Mumbai

7. Kings XI Punjab vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 27th April (8:00 pm) at Mohali

8. Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Chennai Super Kings – 2nd May (8:00 pm) Hyderabad

9. Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 4th May (8:00 pm) Kolkata

10. Rajasthan Royals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 7th May (4:00 pm) at Mumbai (Brabourne)

11. Delhi Daredevils vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 9th May (8:00 pm) Raipur

12. Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kings XI Punjab – 11th May (4:00 pm) Hyderabad

13. Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – 15th May (8:00 pm) at Hyderabad

14. Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Mumbai Indians – 17th May (8:00 pm) Hyderabad

LIKELY POSITION:

Considering the potential that this side possesses, one expects them to make it to the playoffs.

IPL 2015: Team Preview – Chennai Super Kings

Now that the ICC World Cup 2015 is finally over, it’s time to move on to IPL as we preview two time champion team Chennai Super Kings for the season of IPL 2015. . Yes, it’s the highly anticipated Indian Premier League 2015. The IPL 2015 will be a festival for all cricket lovers like it has been since 2008. The brand value of the IPL has been at an all time high, and here, the biggest names in cricket are willing to give their all for their franchises.

It would be a no-brainer to state that the Chennai Super Kings has been the most successful side in the IPL. They have reached either the semi finals or the playoffs in every edition. Chennai Super Kings have won the coveted trophy twice and have been the runners up thrice. Consistency cannot be taken to a level any higher than this! The most significant reason behind CSK’s astounding success has been their strategy of keeping the core unit of the team united and together. In the auctions as well, they buy sensibly, and very rarely do they shell out in extravagance over an individual. For any player they have lost to other sides in the auctions, they have found an able replacement for him.

The Chennai Super Kings stood third in the previous edition, and last won the title in 2011. They would want to repeat their feats of 2010 and 2011, and win the IPL for the third time. Going by their team strength and the talent they possess, this may not seem a distant dream.

PAST PERFORMANCES of Chennai Super Kings:

2008: Runners Up

2009: 4th Place

2010: Winners

2011: Winners

2012: Runners Up

2013: Runner Up

2014: 3rd Place

 

CURRENT SQUAD:

MS Dhoni (c), E. Dwivedi, K. Abbott, B Aparajith, R Ashwin, S Badree, A. Bains, D. Bravo, F du Plessis, M. Henry, M.Hussey, RA Jadeja, B. McCullum, M Manhas, R. More, P Negi, A Nehra, I. Pandey, I. Pathan, P. Singh, S. Raina, M.Sharma, R Sharma, D. Smith, AJ Tye

STRENGTH:

The Super Kings are a side, which rely more upon their batting. Their batting arsenal is filled with international, as well as Indian heartthrobs. When Brendon McCullum and Mike Hussey are likely to open the innings, then it sends down an intimidating message to the opposing bowlers. The bowlers then look to contain them, rather than attack them. These two are most likely to open, while their reserve opener will be none other than Dwayne Smith. On present form, Smith might have to sit out. Nonetheless, it was Dwayne Smith, who scored the most runs for CSK with 566 runs, and was second only to Robin Uthappa in the tournament charts.

Another strength of the Super Kings is that they have four all rounders in their probable eleven. What more does a captain want? Dwayne Bravo, Irfan Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin will form their lower middle order. This clearly means that their batting can stretch up to no.9.

WEAKNESS:

A clear weakness for the men in Yellow is the fact that they do not have a star overseas bowler up their ranks. In their overseas pacers department, they just have the inexperienced combo of Matt Henry and Kyle Abbott. Both the seamers might be plundered for runs on the lifeless Chepauk track. The initial blows may dent their confidence big time. The absence of a successful overseas pacer hurt MS Dhoni big time in the previous edition of the IPL, after he lost Bravo to a shoulder injury. Bravo is there this time around, but he is often very expensive. Therefore, the absence of overseas pacers may hurt the Super Kings.

OPPORTUNITY:

The one absolute advantage which the men from Chennai have is that they are led by the World’s best limited overs captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The presence of Dhoni itself is such a massive advantage that CSK wins half the battle even before commencing the game. The format of T20 is to Dhoni’s, who is captain of team Chennai Spuer Kings, liking and he often leads from the front and sets examples in the field. His ability to maneuver the game during the course is simply out of this world. He strategizes like an absolute wizard. MS Dhoni the batsman himself rips apart the bowlers. But in the shortest format, it’s his captaincy which is more valuable to the side. Dhoni while defending a target chokes the opposition out off the game, by having crucifying field set ups. Having MSD in the side, is the best opportunity for Chennai Super Kings over the other sides.

THREAT:

A clear threat to the Super Kings is that the other sides have been better equipped than the previous editions. In the earlier editions, numerous teams had players in their battery who weren’t in the best of form. Take the Delhi Daredevils for example. The men in Yellow bossed over the Daredevils in the past few editions. However, this time around, the Delhi management has played its cards way too intelligently. They have picked reputed names in their ranks, and have players, who can win them the matches single handedly. Like DD, there are a few other sides as well, which are now better equipped to take on the Super Kings. Thus beating the other competitors will be far from an easy task for the Chennai Super Kings.

Chennai Super Kings Team FIXTURES for IPL 2015:

1. Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Daredevils – 9th April (8:00 pm) at Chennai

2. Chennai Super Kings vs Sunrisers Hyderabad – 11th April (4:00 pm) at Chennai

3. Kolkata Knight Riders vs Chennai Super Kings – 14th April (8:00 pm) at Kolkata

4. Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings – 17th April (8:00 pm) at Mumbai

5. Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings – 19th April (4:00 pm) at Ahmedabad

6. Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings – 22nd April (8:00 pm) at Bangalore

7. Chennai Super Kings vs Kings XI Punjab – 25th April (8:00 pm) at Chennai

8. Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders – 30th April (8:00 pm) at Chennai

9. Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Chennai Super Kings – 2nd May (8:00 pm) at Hyderabad

10. Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore – 4th May (4:00 pm) at Chennai

11. Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians – 8th May (8:00 pm) at Chennai

12. Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals – 10th May (8:00 pm) at Chennai

13. Delhi Daredevils vs Chennai Super Kings – 12th May (8:00 pm) at Raipur

14. Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings – 16th May (4:00 pm) at Mohali

Likely Position: Favourites to win IPL and none of us should be surprised if MS Dhoni and his men lift the trophy for the third time. This prediction will also depend on Fixtures of Chennai Super Kings and the players available for those CSK fixtures. 

World Cup 2015: The Top 5 run getters

The ICC World Cup 2015 is finally over! The Australians, not surprisingly lifted the coveted trophy in an emphatic fashion at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Australians were the deserving winners of the crown, and were dominant throughout the tournament. It is often said that a team is complete when everyone performs the tasks assigned to them with precision. The batsmen and their contribution is crucial, which determines the team total. In this article, we have a look at the top 5 run getters in this World Cup.

Becoming a part of the top 5 run getters is far from an easy task, but achievable for sure!

5. Shikhar Dhawan (412 runs):

The stylish Indian southpaw is fifth in the list of top 5 run getters for the World Cup. To everyone’s surprise, Dhawan was clinical throughout the World Cup. He commenced the tournament in grand style against arch rivals Pakistan, scoring a priceless 73, before being run out. His best innings though came against the South Africans. Shikhar got to a thumping 137 against the Proteas. He treated the likes of Steyn and Morkel with utter disrespect. The opener, got to his second ton against Ireland, and his golden run continued. In the semi final, Dhawan got India off to a flier. It was his wicket, which turned the tide in Australia’s favour. The southpaw scored 412 runs at an average of 51.50, and at a strike rate of 91.75, to stand fifth in the list of the top 5 run getters.

4. Brendon Taylor (433 runs):

Taylor was the brightest spot in Zimbabwe’s World Cup campaign. The talented right hander batted with extreme precision and timed the ball fantastically well. The 29 year old Zimbabwean notched up two sensational tons in this World Cup. It was his 138 against the prevailing Indians, which won everyone’s hearts. Taylor has some really fascinating numbers to back his immense talent in this World Cup. The Zimbabwean scored his 433 runs, at a staggering average of 72.16, at an eye popping strike rate of 106.91. Brendon Taylor was entirely unfortunate, as Zimbabwe could only play the group stage.

3. AB De Villiers (482 runs):

When the list of the top scorers is mentioned, one name automatically hovers in everyone’s mind! Yes, it’s AB De Villiers. The South African run machine amassed 482 runs in this edition, at a jaw dropping average of 96.40. The runs were scored at a galloping rate as well. A Strike rate of 144.31 just signifies that! AB’s mystifying knock of 162 off just 66 balls against the West Indies was completely annihilating. The South African skipper redefined the term power hitting with that knock. Against Pakistan as well, AB was the lone warrior for South Africa, and was on the verge of taking them home, had he not been dismissed. As a whole, it was a pleasure for the viewers, to watch ABD in full flow.

2. Kumar Sangakkara (541 runs):

Run making cannot get more clinical and magical than that! Sangakkara has surely taken run making to a new high altogether. He has simply unreal numbers to his name in this edition of the World Cup. It was a disappointing campaign for the Sri Lankans, but personally, Sangakkara will never forget this World Cup. The Sri Lankan wicketkeeper notched up four tons in four consecutive games, thus making an ODI record. 4 tons in four games is simply unthinkable off. But this lion hearted Sri Lankan did that! Averaging at a whopping 108.20 an inning, at a strike rate of 105.87 made it Sanga’s World Cup indeed. His best knock came against England, where he scored 117 off just 86 balls. Clinical indeed!

1. Martin Guptill (547 runs):

All hail the Kiwi table topper! Guptill endured the World Cup like a sweet, never ending dream. The Kiwi opener accumulated as many as 547 runs, averaging 68.37 an inning. His strike rate was 104.58. Against the West Indians in the fourth quarter final, Guptill scored a mesmerizing 237* off just 163 balls. The sixes he hit from his high back-lift simply spellbound the viewers. He even scored a ton, 105 against Bangladesh, while guiding New Zealand in a tricky run chase. Guptill was a significant reason, behind New Zealand’s brilliant campaign at the World Cup. The tall right hander would have loved to win the cup as well, but that might be left for some other occasion. With the bat though, he surely won the battles against the helpless bowlers!

It has been the courtesy of some fine batting performances, that this World Cup will be etched in everyone’s memory for a really long time!

World Cup 2015: Top 5 Wicket Takers

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 might have been dominated by the batsmen with their whirlwind show. But the bowlers, especially the pacers, had their share of success as well. The bowlers enlightened the viewers with some charismatic spells, which got the adrenaline rushing. In order to win games, the bowlers have to support the batsmen, and provide them with a certain cushion. In this edition, we saw some stellar performances with the ball. In this article, we have a look at the top 5 wicket takers in this World Cup. To be among the top 5 wicket takers, the bowlers have to put in the hard yards, and work rigorously. To the complete elation, that’s what they exactly did!

5. Mohammed Shami (17 wickets):

The highly talented Indian pacer is fifth in the tally of the top 5 leading wicket takers. Shami took 17 wickets at an average of 17.29. His economy rate was good as well. An economy rate of 4.81 is phenomenal indeed. Shami’s biggest asset in this World Cup was his accuracy. Very rarely did Shami stray from his line. He made the best use of the conditions and that was backed by his accuracy. Shami delivered for his skipper at every stage. In the mandatory powerplay, Shami did not allow the top order to settle. Nor did he allow the sloggers to get away in the death overs. Shami was wicketless against Australia in the semi final, and India ended up on the losing side. That just shows his importance in the side!

4. Morne Morkel (17 wickets):

The towering South African seamer had an unforgettable World Cup as well, and is fourth on the list of the top 5 wicket takers. Morkel had 17 wickets to his name, at an average of 17.58. Morkel’s main weapon was the sharp bounce which he extracted from the lively decks. With the conditions supporting him, Morkel utilized the benefits completely, and bowled really well. His best figures were 3-34, against Ireland. In the semi final against New Zealand, he was once again on the money and picked up 3 crucial wickets. Morkel though, did not find able support from his other companions in the bowling department. That was a key reason behind South Africa’s elimination.

3. Umesh Yadav (18 wickets):

Personally, Umesh had a sensational World Cup. He commenced the World Cup against Pakistan in grand style, taking 2 wickets in the middle overs. His pace was really impressive, and he often rushed onto the batsmen. The batsmen against him were often left clueless. Yadav made excellent use of the short ball and was hard to negate. The Vidarbha pacer bowled his heart out, and had two four fors to his name. In the quarter final against Bangladesh, Yadav achieved his best figures of 4-31. It would be fair to say that Yadav has improved big time as a bowler, and his accuracy has increased as well. He has a bright future ahead of him.

2. Trent Boult (22 wickets):

Taking 22 wickets in 9 games at an average of 16.86 is no joke! Boult was simply phenomenal for the Kiwis. His partnership with new ball seamer Tim Southee was the high for New Zealand. Bout was miserly as well. The left arm pacer gave away just 4.36 runs per over. His best performance came against Trans Tasman rivals Australia at the Eden Park. Boult went on to take 5 wickets, and won the game for his side. Viewers were simply thrilled by Boult’s speed and guile. His ability to swing the ball is brilliant as well. His main strength is in pitching the ball up in excess of 140 km/hr and get it to move away and take the nicks. That is what Boult exactly did! His skipper, Brendon McCullum showed great faith in him, and often set 4 slips and a gully for him. Safe to say, he didn’t disappoint his captain one bit.

1. Mitchell Starc (22 wickets):

Starc, for his dazzling spectacle with the ball was rightly awarded the Man of the Tournament. Hold onto your breath, and just understand the value of these freakish bowling numbers! 22 wickets in 8 games, at an average of 10.18, and an economy rate 3.5, with a wicket every 17.4 balls! Simply unbelievable! Starc’s main asset was in his reverse swing deliveries in excess of 145km/hr. Against New Zealand at Auckland, Starc got 6-28, his best figures. In that game, he made a mockery of the batsmen. Even proper batsmen, looked like mere tailenders in front of the rampaging Starc. The stumps flew in every direction, while he was bowling. His toe crushing Yorkers were a nightmare for the batsmen. So were his short pitched deliveries. While Starc was bowling, it seemed that he was playing in a different arena altogether.

As a whole, this World Cup was a home for some stellar bowling performances. The sheer display of pace, swing and bounce made it a memorable World Cup for the viewers.

 

Top 5 batsmen with most fours

The big booming hits which clear the ropes with ease might provide the viewers with a lot of entertainment. But not all the big sixes can guarantee the grace and class through which a batsman hits it. An instance of this theory could be regarding the games played at the Eden Park stadium in Auckland. With so short boundaries, even shots that were mistimed carried all the way to the fence. Several thick edges as well cleared the ropes with ease. In such situations, it becomes crucial for the batsmen to play some “textbook” shots as well. The fours hit are a classic example of the text book shots. Most boundaries are often timed well, and are authentic cricketing shots. Such shots, also bring a smile upon the faces of the viewers.

In this article, we have a look at the top 5 batsmen with most fours.

5. Brendon McCullum (44 fours):

The Kiwi captain hit 44 fours, and is fifth on the list of the top 5 batsmen with most fours. A lot of his shots were timed so well and combined with brute force, that they were like sheer tracer bullets. He thrashed Steven Finn for three consecutive boundaries in an over, cutting with precision. His ability to flick remains as asset as well.

4. Tillakaratne Dilshan (46 fours):

The hard hitting Sri Lankan opener is second in the list of the top 5 batsmen with most fours. He pulled anything short with efficiency, and got the desired results. Like McCullum, the combination of timing and power does the trick for Dilshan. Against Bangladesh, during his innings of 161*, Dilshan hit 22 boundaries.

3. Shikhar Dhawan (48 fours):

The stylish Indian opener was spectacular throughout the World Cup. As the World Cup began, he seemed to have found his lost magical touch. All the shots he played were from the middle of his bat. His cut shots always remain special, as they race off to the point boundary. Along with the cuts, his ability to flick the ball off his pads is great as well. The opposing bowlers often had to leak runs, as Shikhar drove the ball with sheer grace.

2. Kumar Sangakkara (57 fours):

57 boundaries with 7 games is something magical indeed. Sangakkara in this World Cup batted with complete art and magic. The way he timed the ball, it seemed that he was possessed by mystical angels. At the moment, there is no better driver of the ball than Sangakkara on this planet. The cover drives which Sangakkara hit were even applauded by the opposing captain. In a lot of ways, Kumar has rechristened the art of batting. In a way, it can be said that cricket lovers were unlucky, as they got to see the magic of this man only till the quarters. Till the quarters though, every boundary which Sanga hit, was an absolute treat to the eyes.

1. Martin Guptill (59 fours):

The leading run getter of the World Cup tops the list of the top 5 batsmen with most fours. Guptill hit the boundaries all along the carpet. His footwork against the spinners was worth showering praises for. His wrist work, which timed the ball perfectly, was integral in the ball reaching the boundary.

The ICC World Cup 2015 will be remembered mainly for the batting prowess which was on display. But with the batting prowess, no one can forget the art of playing orthodox cricket, and finding the gaps to earn a boundary.

Top 5 batsmen with most sixes

It is often said that to engage the attention of the viewers, ODIs must be entertaining. The most common way of ODIs being entertaining is when the batsmen hit the big sixes. The maximums are necessary, as they often ease up the pressure on the batting side. If connected properly, then a positive result is up for grabs. In this edition of the World Cup, there were several stadiums in New Zealand, which had short boundaries. When these short boundaries came into the fray, the batsmen were licking their lips. In the fourth quarter final between New Zealand and West Indies, as many as 31 sixes were hit, a world record. There were several batsmen who went for the full-monty and were successful. In this article, we have a look at the top 5 six hitters of the World Cup.

5. Glenn Maxwell (14 sixes):

The Victorian is fifth in the list of the top 5 six hitters. His shots were way too innovative and unorthodox. But nonetheless, they were all clean. In the game against Afghanistan, the “Big Show” cleared the ropes 7 times during his 39 ball endeavor. The lightening quick bat speed which he generates makes his sixes travel a long way. During the tournament, he tormented several bowlers with his big sixes.

4. Martin Guptill (16 sixes):

The Kiwi opener is fourth on the list of the top 5 six hitters. His sixes were clean and monstrous. Against the men from Caribbean, during his epic knock of 237*, Guptill cleared the boundary on 11 occasions. That is some phenomenal record! 11 sixes within an innings! The one technical positivity in Guptill’s batting is that he has a high back-lift. As a result, he is able to get the full swing of the bat, just like a golfer. The full swing then ensures that the ball is deposited into the stands.

3. Brendon McCullum (17 sixes):

The New Zealand captain was simply brutal in the World Cup. McCullum achieved a rare feat in this World Cup. Dale Steyn, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell Johnson, Steven Finn were belted for more than 20 runs in an over when McCullum hit them. These bowlers send shivers down the spines of the opposing batsmen, who look to just survive against them. But McCullum just bossed them.

2. AB De Villiers (21 sixes):

The South African captain, known as Mr 360*, because of his ability to hit anywhere across the ground, was lethal. De Villiers was at his destructive best during the World Cup. Against the West Indies, during his mind boggling knock of 162 off 66, De Villiers hit 8 maximums. A few of these sixes came on deliveries, which were pitched way outside the off stump, but which ended up over fine leg! Creativity while hitting sixes cannot get any better!

1. Chris Gayle (26 sixes):

When the big hits are mentioned, it’s the Jamaican swagger who wins each and every battle. Chris Gayle, ruled over the sixes chart in the 2015 World Cup. His ability to hit sixes is unparalleled. No one can even think of having the audacity to match the Gayle force. His bat, heavier than 5 lbs, is his ultimate weapon. On an average, Gayle hit 4.5 sixes in an inning. During his double ton versus the Zimbabweans, Gayle hit 16 sixes, equaling the world record held by Rohit Sharma. Like the IPL, in the 2015 World Cup as well, there was no shortage of sixes due to Chris Gayle!

The batsmen did really well, to clear the ropes, and hit the big ones! This was a World Cup which is bound to be remembered for its sheer power hitting.

 

Five Things New Zealand need to do to beat Australia

This is by a long distance going to be the most important date for every cricket lover in New Zealand. The Blackcaps have made it to their first ever World Cup final. After losing six times in the semi finals, they have finally made it to the grand finals. Just imagine the misfortune and anguish experienced by every New Zealand fan every time they stood second in a semi final. But as they say, “better late than never”. And here we are, at the resplendent Melbourne Cricket Ground, which is set to host the final of the ICC World Cup 2015. The Kiwis are up against an incredibly ruthless Australian side, which has been formidable at home. The Aussies have made a mockery of the visiting teams and have bossed their way into the finals. The men in Black would be itching to finally bring the coveted trophy home for the first time. But for that, they would have to take care of a few crucial things.

Below, is the summary of the five crucial factors, which the Kiwis need to do, in order to win the World Cup.

1. Williamson must bat till the end:

Kane Williamson has been the smiling assassin of this World Cup. He has calmly but steadily accumulated the runs and batted sensibly. Both the Kiwi openers have been explosive, and its often Williamson, who steadies the side after the dismissal of the openers. In the final though, Williamson will be required to bat till the end. With Williamson at one end, the batsmen have a sense of calmness and serenity around them. Kane is like the guiding force for the team. Ross Taylor, has had a forgettable World Cup so far with the bat. With Taylor not in top form, it becomes crucial for Williamson to bat till the end. If Williamson indeed manages to bat for a long span in the final, then the Kiwis would have got to a respectable total for sure.

2. Attack James Faulkner:

Against India in the first semi final, Faulkner was plundered for 29 runs in his first couple of overs by Shikhar Dhawan. The Kiwi batters can take a leaf out of Dhawan’s book and surely be aggressive against Faulkner. Faulkner is not that kind of a bowler who will bounce you out or will intimidate you by giving the terrorizing scare. Rather, he will trudge back to his end once he has been attacked. The New Zealanders can attack him from the offset. Like Dhawan, the likes of McCullum and Guptill can move within the crease to upset Faulkner’s line. James also has to deliver ten overs for Clarke at any cost. Thus attacking him will upset the team’s plan big time. 

3. Play the chin music:

The conditions surrounding the MCG will not be assisting swing bowling. Thus, the best weapon for Kiwi seamers will be in pitching the ball short in excess of 145 km/hr and playing the famous chin music. David Warner often has the tendency to pounce on the short stuff. But he is seldom successful in doing so. With the long third man boundary, the option of cutting is also a risky one for Warner. Boult can surely attack Warner by playing the chin music. The likes of Michael Clarke and Glenn Maxwell look like rookies while playing the short ball. Both the Australians have had their share of trouble while countering the short stuff. Shane Watson against Wahab Riaz looked completely flummoxed against anything short, and created a lot of chances. The Kiwi pace battery must pitch the ball short and attack, if they are to mesmerize the Aussie batsmen.

4. Get Warner early:

David Warner’s bat speaks a lot more than his mouth! When he flashes the thick woody blade, the ball often disappears into the crowd. The Kiwi bowlers must be wary of him big time. Warner has the ability to decimate bowling attacks with ridiculous ease. Against India as well, he was off and running, but an ill timed top edge ended his knock. Playing his biggest match till date, Warner would want to get on top of the Kiwi bowlers and intimidate with his brand of play. The Blackcaps should dismiss him early at any given cost. The ideal way to do that is beating him by pace, and pitching the ball short. If, the muscular lad gets going, then the Kiwis better worry and fear for the worst!

5.  Be ahead of Australia in aggression:

In the grand final, two sides with immense aggression will clash. Both the Trans Tasman sides have found success in aggression. They are likely to continue the strategy in the final as well. The Kiwis have been hostile, thanks to their captain with his display of aggression in the field. McCullum has often employed as many as 4 slips and a gully in the initial overs. McCullum in a lot of ways has redesigned the form of aggression in limited overs. He has engineered and developed strategies to remain aggressive in every part of the game. With the bat, his swashbuckling starts have often done the job for New Zealand. McCullum sets the tone from the very first over itself. Not a single team so far has managed to escape unscathed from his line of fury. If not with the bat, then with his captaincy, he rules the game. In the final too, it will be vital for McCullum to remain ahead of Australia through aggression. Doing so, will put a lot of pressure on the Aussies, who might retort to unproductive measures. 

It is safe to say that both the deserving sides have made it to the final. The clash of the aggressive lineups promises the viewers with a lot of entertainment. May the best side win, and take home the ultimate glory, the ICC World Cup.

 

Five things we learnt from the India Australia Semi Final

The second semi final played between hosts Australia and India turned out to be a rather one sided affair. The hosts were dominant throughout the game and Indians never got going. It seemed that all the hardwork done by the Aussies was worth its weight in gold. As a consequence of the 95 run win over India, the Australians have stormed their way into the final, and are scheduled to play the rampant Kiwis. Before moving on to that game, we have some unfinished business from the second semi final. The game between Australia and India reflected the progress of both the sides, and was a learning curve for every player and viewer.

In this article, we analyze the factors, which we learnt from the second semi final.

1. Home teams shall continue to have a massive advantage:

A major reason for Australia’s win over the strong Indian side was the presence of the home advantage. Even though the crowd was mostly filled with Indian supporters, that hardly made a difference to Australians. The men in Yellow looked settled throughout the course of the game. The pitch was like a subcontinent wicket, but because of knowing the conditions so well, the Aussies negated that advantage which the Indians had. Michael Clarke’s handling of Josh Hazlewood reflected the knowledge which the Aussies had about their home conditions. Clarke gave Hazlewood a lengthy first spell. The reason was simple indeed. Clarke knew that the ball would seam and swing only for the first ten to twelve overs, and thus Hazlewood would be highly effective only during those overs. In return, Hazlewood was spectacular. He strangled the Indian openers big time, and that caused them to take many risks.  

2. Importance of middle overs:

The passage of play between the 10th over to the 35th over, has a massive influence on the outcome of the game. In this passage, it is the duty of the top order batsmen to consolidate and set the base for a strong finish. While doing so, the batsmen need to milk the ones and twos, and ensure that strike rotation takes place. This is done so that the big hitters can get their juices flowing from the word go. The hosts were brilliant during the middle overs. Finch and Smith were excellent in the middle overs, and kept the run rate ticking. Both were triumphant in keeping the Indian bowlers at bay and laying the platform for a blistering finish. The Aussies scored 150 runs for the loss of just one wicket in their middle overs. On the other hand, the Indians, scored just 115 runs and lost 4 wickets. That just tells the entire story!

3. Batting depth matters:

The Indian captain later emphasized on this point in the post match ceremony. The Australians have the services of profusely talented individuals at their bay. As a result of having such services, they can always keep on accelerating and move ahead in a positive direction. For the Aussies, when Watson is dismissed, he is replaced by Maxwell. Maxwell then is replaced by Haddin. Haddin then is replaced by Faulkner who is then replaced by Mitchell Johnson! Since the Aussies have such an intimidating batting lineup for the death overs, they can always post a large total. The Indian batting lineup though stretches only till MS Dhoni. From no.7 onwards, the Indians lose their batting prowess. The Australian lower order individuals scored 106 runs from 72 balls. Their Indian counterparts could manage 94 from 107 balls. Not to forget, out of those 94 runs, 65 came from one individual! The depth in batting indeed matters a lot!

4. Jadeja is NOT an All Rounder:

The second semi final between India and Australia made it obvious that the term “all rounder” should not be associated with Ravindra Jadeja. Going by his performance against Australia, it wouldn’t be an offense to brand Jadeja as a “bits and pieces” player. An all rounder is expected to contribute well with the bat, and support the main batsmen with ease. With the ball, the all rounder should chip in with a couple of wickets, and if not that, then must atleast control the run flow. Jadeja, miserably failed in doing the two mentioned activities. Against his bowling, the Kangaroos got runs with sheer ease. With the bat, he was struggling to even time a shot, let alone play the big shots. Jadeja’s batting has often put excess burden on the other batsmen. On numerous occasions, he struggles to even clear the inner circle. Its high time, that the Indians brief him about his exact role.

5. Overdependence on Virat Kohli:

The overdependence of the Indian batsmen on Virat Kohli was bound to be on display someday. Unfortunately for the Indians, the second semi final was that ill fated occasion. The theory of overdependence on Virat Kohli, can be easily grasped through this stat. In successful chases, Virat Kohli averages a colossal 85.97 at a strike rate of 96.45. However, in unsuccessful chases, the Delhi star averages a mere 35 at a strike rate of 82.05. Such a contrast in successful and unsuccessful chases is enough to signify the overdependence on Virat Kohli. In the second semi final as well, as soon as Kohli got out, the Indians seemed to have lost all hope. Their body language reflected no signs of positivity. It is imperative of the other batsmen to also shoulder the responsibility.

The second semi final provided the players and the cricket viewers with a few lessons. As a whole, the Indian side has a bright future, but they certainly need to address a few issues big time. 

The Five things Australia should do to beat New Zealand

This it is! The stage is set. It doesn’t get any bigger or better than this. The heartbeats have galloped ahead at quick pace. The Melbourne Cricket Ground is the venue, which will grace the ICC World Cup 2015 final. Like the previous edition in 2011, the two hosts are all set to battle it out at the splendid MCG. Both, Australia as well as New Zealand have been utterly dominant, and a lot of credit for that feat is due for their respective skippers.

The 29th of March will be the most important day, in the lives of both the squad members. No player would want to end up on the losing side. It would be a classic case of the “so near yet so far” saga.

In this article, we analyze the possible factors, which the Australians must adhere to, if they are to be crowned as the World Champions for the fifth time.

1. One of the openers should stay till the end:

An important strategy used by successful ODI sides in recent times is to assign one of the openers the task of holding up one end and staying till the end. This allows the other opener to express himself freely and play his shots will full ease and comfort. Meanwhile, the opener assigned with the task will keep the run flow going and will also play safe. The Aussie opening pair of David Warner and Aaron Finch can surely take a cue from this. In all probability, it will have to be Aaron Finch, who would have to stay till the end. He was successful against India and held up one end. This allowed Steve Smith to play smoothly. Warner has been in the form of his life, and can set the tone from the first over itself. Hence, this seems to be an appropriate strategy.

2. Set an aggressive field for Hazlewood:

Josh Hazlewood has been excellent for Australia in this World Cup so far. His accuracy has impressed probably every cricket fan. Hazlewood’s consistency has awed viewers to such an extent that his comparison with the great Glenn McGrath has also been drawn. Hazlewood’s premier strength lies in pitching the ball on the middle and outside off line. He bowls at a decent pace, and can get the ball to seam and swing a bit. In Melbourne, there wouldn’t be a lot of swing. It becomes significant that Hazlewood utilizes his accuracy to cramp the Kiwi openers for the first ten to twelve overs. His accuracy may keep a check on the rampaging Kiwis, who may end up taking desperate measures and lose their wicket.

3. Clarke must lead with the bat as well:

Michael Clarke has been outstanding marshalling his troops and leading the side. But somehow, he hasn’t been able to translate that success in his batting. Clarke is a great timer of the ball, and has the ability to change gears with ease. His performance in the World Cup has been underwhelming. Against the Blackcaps, Clarke has a perfect opportunity lying ahead of him. It is always the dream of a captain, to perform in the World Cup final, and lead his side to glory. Clarke would want to surely live this dream. He can surely seek some inspiration from his friend MS Dhoni, who led his side to glory in the 2011 final.

4.  Take inspiration from their group match against New Zealand:

Against New Zealand at the Eden Park, the Kangaroos did not get the desired result. But that was surely the most memorable and nerve wrecking game of the group stage. It was a low scoring thriller, where New Zealand ended up on the winning side. Mitchell Starc bowled his heart out and took a 6 for. The Aussies can take a lot of inspiration from that encounter. The way they fought back was simply stimulating.  The Australian brand of cricket was on display in that encounter. Clarke can lead his side in the same way and give it his 100%. After all, giving your 100% in a World Cup final is something really special.

5. Get McCullum quickly:

In the first semi final at Auckland, Brendon McCullum made his intentions clear from the very first over. The way Brendon thrashed Dale Steyn, it was evident that McCullum was a man on a mission. He played as though he was possessed. Getting McCullum quickly will dictate the proceedings of the game to a great extent. If the Kiwi dasher is allowed to stay at the crease till the tenth over, then mayhem awaits the Aussies. No ground is small enough for McCullum. McCullum has had a few issues against the left arm quicks. It therefore becomes the duty of Starc and Johnson to get rid of the Kiwi skipper. Who knows, if McCullum stays for a considerable time, then the MCG might well be blown away by the “Bazz” storm.

Come the March the 29th, and we are in for a fitting finale. Only time will tell, which side gets to hold the glorious World Cup trophy. 

5 Things that Australia must do to beat Team India

The big stage is set! The iconic Sydney Cricket Ground is all set to host the highly anticipated clash between the Indians and the hosts Australia. After five weeks of grueling action in this World Cup, both these sides will clash to play New Zealand in the all important finale.

The journeys of both the teams have been highly uncomplicated. The Indians have been ruling the roost and have been undefeated throughout the campaign. The hosts on the other hand have just lost one game. It was against co hosts New Zealand, which the Aussies lost in a nail biting contest. Both the teams are determined to beat each other, and book their tickets to Melbourne.

In this article, we have a look at the 5 Things Australians must do to beat Team India –

1. Get Kohli cheaply:

Virat Kohli has been one intimidating force within himself. His ability to score runs at a hemorrhaging rate has been outstanding. Kohli commenced the World Cup in style, by scoring a free flowing ton against arch rivals Pakistan.

Since then, Kohli has mellowed down and not been among the big runs. Against the Australians he is due for a big score. It is often the high profile games, which get him going. Thereby, it is critical for the Aussies to get him cheaply. The best way to do so is bowling on the channel outside the off stump. Kohli is not the one who shies away from driving. Bowling on the fourth stump line may cost the Aussies a few boundaries, but it is the best way to get Kohli.

 

2. Build in the middle overs:

The middle overs often dictate the eventual outcome of the game. The side dominating the middle overs, is more likely to be triumphant. As a consequence, it becomes highly imperative for the teams to win the middle over stage. The Australians need to take care of this big time. They have explosive openers in their arsenal, who can provide them with a rollicking start. Their middle order looks set as well, with Smith, Clarke and Watson positioned.

The three middle order batsmen will have to keep the scoreboard moving and rotate the strike. Doing so will add a massive burden on the Indians, and it will not allow their spinners to settle. More than anything else, it will set the platform for Maxwell and Faulkner, to explode from the word go.

 

3. Attack the weaknesses of Indian batsmen:

The Indian batting lineup is highly celebrated for its performances. But it has its fair dose of hiccups along with it. A few Indian batsmen have clear weaknesses, which the Kangaroos can exploit.

Shikhar Dhawan struggles when he is cramped for room. The likes of Hazlewood and Starc can target the middle stump line and frustrate Dhawan. Too many dot balls would lead Dhawan to play a false stroke, leading to his dismissal. Rohit Sharma too has a clear weakness. Early on, he is very lazy and does not get to the full pitch of the ball. He tends to lazily poke, towards the ball outside off. Hazlewood can target this line, and make life tough for Sharma.

Suresh Raina’s woes with the short ball are well known. Mitchell Johnson can bang the ball short in excess of 145 km/hr. The short balls make Raina a very vulnerable target.

 

4. Attack Jadeja:

Ravindra Jadeja by far has been India’s weakest link with the ball. When Jadeja is taken for runs early, he tends to struggle and loses his rhythm. That makes life easy for the batsmen. However, when he strikes early, he is like a lion who roars louder each time. It is crucial for the Kangaroos to take a cue from this and attack Jadeja from the outset. Attacking him from the start will upset not just his mindset, but even MS Dhoni’s rhythm.

The likes of Shane Watson and Glenn Maxwell have had great success against Ravindra Jadeja. In matches when Jadeja bowls to Maxwell, the Aussie averages 41.33 with the bat at a Strike rate of 152.14. That is some stat worth having.

 

5. Sledging:

The Australians have been vocal about their thoughts on sledging and have made it clear that they would not back down. Playing mind games is really crucial, when it comes down to winning the main battle. Winning the mind games, gives the team a massive competitive advantage. The Australians traditionally have been a successful sledging side. Their strategy of sledging has reaped them great dividends in the past helping them get into the mind of the opposition.

Sledging could instigate the Indians to play shots in a rush of blood and this could lead to their downfall. In the test series, Mitchell Johnson sledged Virat Kohli. Within the span of a few balls, Kohli made two errors, but unfortunately both his dolly catches were put down. However, Johnson was successful in creating the chances. It is a tried and tested ploy and the Aussies never back down from a bit of a verbal spat, do they?

The success of the Australians will depend greatly upon how they consider these five factors. If they successfully settle in to these issues, then they may well be facing New Zealand on the 29th to fight for the 2015 World Cup trophy.